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See detailThe Parkinson's Disease Map: A Framework for Integration, Curation and Exploration of Disease-related Pathways
Ostaszewski, Marek UL; Fujita, Kazuhiro; Matsuoka, Yukiko et al

Poster (2013, March 09)

Objectives: The pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) is multi-factorial and age-related, implicating various genetic and environmental factors. It becomes increasingly important to develop new ... [more ▼]

Objectives: The pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) is multi-factorial and age-related, implicating various genetic and environmental factors. It becomes increasingly important to develop new approaches to organize and explore the exploding knowledge of this field. Methods: The published knowledge on pathways implicated in PD, such as synaptic and mitochondrial dysfunction, alpha-synuclein pathobiology, failure of protein degradation systems and neuroinflammation has been organized and represented using CellDesigner. This repository has been linked to a framework of bioinformatics tools including text mining, database annotation, large-scale data integration and network analysis. The interface for online curation of the repository has been established using Payao tool. Results: We present the PD map, a computer-based knowledge repository, which includes molecular mechanisms of PD in a visually structured and standardized way. A bioinformatics framework that facilitates in-depth knowledge exploration, extraction and curation supports the map. We discuss the insights gained from PD map-driven text mining of a corpus of over 50 thousands full text PD-related papers, integration and visualization of gene expression in post mortem brain tissue of PD patients with the map, as well as results of network analysis. Conclusions: The knowledge repository of disease-related mechanisms provides a global insight into relationships between different pathways and allows considering a given pathology in a broad context. Enrichment with available text and bioinformatics databases as well as integration of experimental data supports better understanding of complex mechanisms of PD and formulation of novel research hypotheses. [less ▲]

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See detailSignaling in Insulin-Secreting MIN6 Pseudoislets and Monolayer Cells.
Chowdhury, Azazul; Satagopam, Venkata UL; Manukyan, Levon et al

in Journal of proteome research (2013)

Cell-cell interactions are of fundamental importance for cellular function. In islets of Langerhans, which control blood glucose levels by secreting insulin in response to the blood glucose concentration ... [more ▼]

Cell-cell interactions are of fundamental importance for cellular function. In islets of Langerhans, which control blood glucose levels by secreting insulin in response to the blood glucose concentration, the secretory response of intact islets is higher than that of insulin-producing beta-cells not arranged in the islet architecture. The objective was to define mechanisms by which cellular performance is enhanced when cells are arranged in three-dimensional space. The task was addressed by making a comprehensive analysis based on protein expression patterns generated from insulin-secreting MIN6 cells grown as islet-like clusters, so-called pseudoislets, and in monolayers. After culture, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) was measured from monolayers and pseudoislets. GSIS rose 6-fold in pseudoislets but only 3-fold in monolayers when the glucose concentration was increased from 2 to 20 mmol/L. Proteins from pseudoislets and monolayers were extracted and analyzed by liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry, and differentially expressed proteins were mapped onto KEGG pathways. Protein profiling identified 1576 proteins, which were common to pseudoislets and monolayers. When mapped onto KEGG pathways, 11 highly enriched pathways were identified. On the basis of differences in expression of proteins belonging to the pathways in pseudoislets and monolayers, predictions of differential pathway activation were performed. Mechanisms enhancing insulin secretory capacity of the beta-cell, when situated in the islet, include pathways regulating glucose metabolism, cell interaction, and translational regulation. [less ▲]

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See detailNuclear calcium signaling in spinal neurons drives a genomic program required for persistent inflammatory pain
Simonetti, Manuela; Hagenston, Anna; Vardeh, Daniel et al

in Neuron (2013), 77(1), 43-57

Persistent pain induced by noxious stimuli is characterized by the transition from normosensitivity to hypersensitivity. Underlying mechanisms are not well understood, although gene expression is ... [more ▼]

Persistent pain induced by noxious stimuli is characterized by the transition from normosensitivity to hypersensitivity. Underlying mechanisms are not well understood, although gene expression is considered important. Here we show that persistent nociceptive-like activity triggers calcium transients in neuronal nuclei within the superficial spinal dorsal horn, and that nuclear calcium is necessary for the development of long-term inflammatory hypersensitivity. Using a nucleusspecific calcium signal perturbation strategy in vivo complemented by gene profiling, bioinformatics and functional analyses, we discovered a pain-associated, nuclear calciumregulated gene program in spinal excitatory neurons. This includes C1q, a novel modulator of synaptic spine morphogenesis, which we found to contribute to activity-dependent spine remodelling on spinal neurons in a manner functionally associated with inflammatory hypersensitivity. Thus, nuclear calcium integrates synapse-to-nucleus communication following noxious stimulation and controls a spinal genomic response that mediates the transition between acute and long-term nociceptive sensitization by modulating functional and structural plasticity. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Young PI Buzz: Learning from the Organizers of the Junior Principal Investigator Meeting at ISMB-ECCB 2013.
de Ridder, Jeroen; Bromberg, Yana; Michaut, Magali et al

in PLoS computational biology (2013), 9(11), 1003350

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See detailTranscriptional mechanisms underlying sensitization of peripheral sensory neurons by Granulocyte-/Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factors.
Bali, Kiran Kumar; Venkataramani, Varun; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in Molecular pain (2013), 9(1), 48

BACKGROUND: Cancer-associated pain is a major cause of poor quality of life in cancer patients and is frequently resistant to conventional therapy. Recent studies indicate that some hematopoietic growth ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Cancer-associated pain is a major cause of poor quality of life in cancer patients and is frequently resistant to conventional therapy. Recent studies indicate that some hematopoietic growth factors, namely granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor (GMCSF) and granulocyte colony stimulating factor (GCSF), are abundantly released in the tumor microenvironment and play a key role in regulating tumor-nerve interactions and tumor-associated pain by activating receptors on dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Moreover, these hematopoietic factors have been highly implicated in postsurgical pain, inflammatory pain and osteoarthritic pain. However, the molecular mechanisms via which G-/GMCSF bring about nociceptive sensitization and elicit pain are not known. RESULTS: In order to elucidate G-/GMCSF mediated transcriptional changes in the sensory neurons, we performed a comprehensive, genome-wide analysis of changes in the transcriptome of DRG neurons brought about by exposure to GMCSF or GCSF. We present complete information on regulated genes and validated profiling analyses and report novel regulatory networks and interaction maps revealed by detailed bioinformatics analyses. Amongst these, we validate calpain 2, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9) and a RhoGTPase Rac1 as well as Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) as transcriptional targets of G-/GMCSF and demonstrate the importance of MMP9 and Rac1 in GMCSF-induced nociceptor sensitization. CONCLUSION: With integrative approach of bioinformatics, in vivo pharmacology and behavioral analyses, our results not only indicate that transcriptional control by G-/GMCSF signaling regulates a variety of established pain modulators, but also uncover a large number of novel targets, paving the way for translational analyses in the context of pain disorders. [less ▲]

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See detailOnTheFly 2.0: a tool for automatic annotation of files and biological information extraction.
Pafilis, Evangelos; Pavlopoulos, Georgios; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

Poster (2013)

Retrieving all of the necessary information from databases about bioentities mentioned in an article is not a trivial or an easy task. Following the daily literature about a specific biological topic and ... [more ▼]

Retrieving all of the necessary information from databases about bioentities mentioned in an article is not a trivial or an easy task. Following the daily literature about a specific biological topic and collecting all the necessary information about the bioentities mentioned in the literature manually is tedious and time consuming. OnTheFly 2.0 is a web application mainly designed for non-computer experts which aims to automate data collection and knowledge extraction from biological literature in a user friendly and efficient way. OnTheFly 2.0 is able to extract bioentities from individual articles such as text, Microsoft Word, Excel and PDF files. With a simple drag-and-drop motion, the text of a document is extensively parsed for bioentities such as protein/gene names and chemical compound names. Utilizing high quality data integration platforms, OnTheFly allows the generation of informative summaries, interaction networks and at-a-glance popup windows containing knowledge related to the bioentities found in documents. OnTheFly 2.0 provides a concise application to automate the extraction of bioentities hidden in various documents and is offered as a web based application. [less ▲]

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See detailA model microbial community for Eco-Systems Biology
Muller, Emilie UL; Roume, Hugo UL; Buschart, Anna UL et al

Poster (2013)

Objective Microbial communities (MCs) play crucial roles in human health and disease. In-depth characterization of the vast organismal and functional diversity of MCs is now facilitated by high-resolution ... [more ▼]

Objective Microbial communities (MCs) play crucial roles in human health and disease. In-depth characterization of the vast organismal and functional diversity of MCs is now facilitated by high-resolution molecular approaches. Systematic measurements are key for meaningful data integration, analysis and modeling. Based on a model MC from a biological wastewater treatment plant, we have developed a new framework based on wet- and dry-lab methods for the integrated analyses of MCs at the population- as well as at the community-level. Methods The overall methodological framework first relies on a standardised wet-lab procedure for the isolation of concomitant biomolecules, i.e., DNA, RNA, proteins and metabolites, from single undivided samples. Purified biomolecular fractions then are subjected to high-resolution omic analyses including metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics and (meta-) metabolomics. The resulting data form the input for integrated bioinformatic analyses. Population-level integrated omic analyses rely on a newly developed binning and re-assembly method, which yields near-complete genome reconstructions for dominant populations. Community-level analyses involve the reconstruction of community-wide metabolic networks. Functional omic data is then mapped onto these reconstructions and contextualized. Results Application of the population-centric workflow has allowed us to reconstruct and identify 10 major populations within the model MC and has led to the identification of a key generalist population, Candidatus Microthrix spp., within the community. Analysis of the community-wide metabolic networks has allowed the identification of keystone genes involved in lipid and nitrogen metabolism within the MC. Conclusions Our new methodological framework offers exciting new prospects for elucidating the functional relevance of specific populations and genes within MCs. The established workflows are now being applied to samples of biomedical research interest such as human gastrointestinal tract-derived samples. [less ▲]

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See detailGenome-wide identification and functional analyses of microRNA signatures associated with cancer pain.
Bali, Kiran Kumar; Selvaraj, Deepitha; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in EMBO Molecular Medicine (2013), 5(11), 1740-58

Cancer pain remains a major challenge and there is an urgent demand for the development of specific mechanism-based therapies. Various diseases are associated with unique signatures of expression of ... [more ▼]

Cancer pain remains a major challenge and there is an urgent demand for the development of specific mechanism-based therapies. Various diseases are associated with unique signatures of expression of microRNAs (miRNAs), which reveal deep insights into disease pathology. Using a comprehensive approach combining genome-wide miRNA screening, molecular and in silico analyses with behavioural approaches in a clinically relevant model of metastatic bone-cancer pain in mice, we now show that tumour-induced conditions are associated with a marked dysregulation of 57 miRNAs in sensory neurons corresponding to tumour-affected areas. By establishing protocols for interference with disease-induced miRNA dysregulation in peripheral sensory neurons in vivo, we functionally validate six dysregulated miRNAs as significant modulators of tumour-associated hypersensitivity. In silico analyses revealed that their predicted targets include key pain-related genes and we identified Clcn3, a gene encoding a chloride channel, as a key miRNA target in sensory neurons, which is functionally important in tumour-induced nociceptive hypersensitivity in vivo. Our results provide new insights into endogenous gene regulatory mechanisms in cancer pain and open up attractive and viable therapeutic options. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotypic profiling of the human genome by time-lapse microscopy reveals cell division genes
Neumann, Beate; Walter, Thomas; Heriche, Jean-Karim et al

in Nature (2010), 464(7289), 721-727

Despite our rapidly growing knowledge about the human genome, we do not know all of the genes required for some of the most basic functions of life. To start to fill this gap we developed a high ... [more ▼]

Despite our rapidly growing knowledge about the human genome, we do not know all of the genes required for some of the most basic functions of life. To start to fill this gap we developed a high-throughput phenotypic screening platform combining potent gene silencing by RNA interference, time-lapse microscopy and computational image processing. We carried out a genome-wide phenotypic profiling of each of the similar to 21,000 human protein-coding genes by two-day live imaging of fluorescently labelled chromosomes. Phenotypes were scored quantitatively by computational image processing, which allowed us to identify hundreds of human genes involved in diverse biological functions including cell division, migration and survival. As part of the Mitocheck consortium, this study provides an in-depth analysis of cell division phenotypes and makes the entire high-content data set available as a resource to the community. [less ▲]

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See detailReflect: A practical approach to web semantics
O'Donoghue, Sean I.; Horn, Heiko; Pafilis, Evangelos et al

in Journal of Web Semantics (2010), 8(2-3), 182-189

To date, adding semantic capabilities to web content usually requires considerable server-side re-engineering, thus only a tiny fraction of all web content currently has semantic annotations. Recently, we ... [more ▼]

To date, adding semantic capabilities to web content usually requires considerable server-side re-engineering, thus only a tiny fraction of all web content currently has semantic annotations. Recently, we announced Reflect (http://reflect.ws), a free service that takes a more practical approach: Reflect uses augmented browsing to allow end-users to add systematic semantic annotations to any web-page in real-time, typically within seconds. In this paper we describe the tagging process in detail and show how further entity types can be added to Reflect; we also describe how publishers and content providers can access Reflect programmatically using SOAP, REST (HTTP post), and JavaScript. Usage of Reflect has grown rapidly within the life sciences, and while currently only genes, protein and small molecule names are tagged, we plan to soon expand the scope to include a much broader range of terms (e. g., Wikipedia entries). The popularity of Reflect demonstrates the use and feasibility of letting end-users decide how and when to add semantic annotations. Ultimately, 'semantics is in the eye of the end-user', hence we believe end-user approaches such as Reflect will become increasingly important in semantic web technologies. [less ▲]

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See detailGPCRs, G-proteins, effectors and their interactions: human-gpDB, a database employing visualization tools and data integration techniques.
Satagopam, Venkata UL; Theodoropoulou, Margarita C.; Stampolakis, Christos K. et al

in Database: the Journal of Biological Databases and Curation (2010), 2010

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the ... [more ▼]

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the outside of the cell, activating them by causing a conformational change, and allowing them to bind to G-proteins. Through their interaction with G-proteins, several effector molecules are activated leading to many kinds of cellular and physiological responses. The great importance of GPCRs and their corresponding signal transduction pathways is indicated by the fact that they take part in many diverse disease processes and that a large part of efforts towards drug development today is focused on them. We present Human-gpDB, a database which currently holds information about 713 human GPCRs, 36 human G-proteins and 99 human effectors. The collection of information about the interactions between these molecules was done manually and the current version of Human-gpDB holds information for about 1663 connections between GPCRs and G-proteins and 1618 connections between G-proteins and effectors. Major advantages of Human-gpDB are the integration of several external data sources and the support of advanced visualization techniques. Human-gpDB is a simple, yet a powerful tool for researchers in the life sciences field as it integrates an up-to-date, carefully curated collection of human GPCRs, G-proteins, effectors and their interactions. The database may be a reference guide for medical and pharmaceutical research, especially in the areas of understanding human diseases and chemical and drug discovery. Database URLs: http://schneider.embl.de/human_gpdb; http://bioinformatics.biol.uoa.gr/human_gpdb/ [less ▲]

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See detailMartini: using literature keywords to compare gene sets.
Soldatos, Theodoros G.; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in Nucleic acids research (2010), 38(1), 26-38

Life scientists are often interested to compare two gene sets to gain insight into differences between two distinct, but related, phenotypes or conditions. Several tools have been developed for comparing ... [more ▼]

Life scientists are often interested to compare two gene sets to gain insight into differences between two distinct, but related, phenotypes or conditions. Several tools have been developed for comparing gene sets, most of which find Gene Ontology (GO) terms that are significantly over-represented in one gene set. However, such tools often return GO terms that are too generic or too few to be informative. Here, we present Martini, an easy-to-use tool for comparing gene sets. Martini is based, not on GO, but on keywords extracted from Medline abstracts; Martini also supports a much wider range of species than comparable tools. To evaluate Martini we created a benchmark based on the human cell cycle, and we tested several comparable tools (CoPub, FatiGO, Marmite and ProfCom). Martini had the best benchmark performance, delivering a more detailed and accurate description of function. Martini also gave best or equal performance with three other datasets (related to Arabidopsis, melanoma and ovarian cancer), suggesting that Martini represents an advance in the automated comparison of gene sets. In agreement with previous studies, our results further suggest that literature-derived keywords are a richer source of gene-function information than GO annotations. Martini is freely available at http://martini.embl.de. [less ▲]

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See detailGPCRs, G-proteins, Effectors and their interactions: Human-gpDB, a database employing advanced visualization tools and data integration techniques
Satagopam, Venkata UL; Theodoropoulou, Margarita C.; Christos, Stampolakis K. et al

in Database: the Journal of Biological Databases and Curation (2010)

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the ... [more ▼]

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are a major family of membrane receptors in eukaryotic cells. They play a crucial role in the communication of a cell with the environment. Ligands bind to GPCRs on the outside of the cell, activating them by causing a conformational change, and allowing them to bind to G-proteins. Through their interaction with G-proteins, several effector molecules are activated leading to many kinds of cellular and physiological responses. The great importance of GPCRs and their corresponding signal transduction pathways is indicated by the fact that they take part in many diverse disease processes and that a large part of efforts towards drug development today is focused on them. We present Human-gpDB, a database which currently holds information about 713 human GPCRs, 36 human G-proteins and 99 human effectors. The collection of information about the interactions between these molecules was done manually and the current version of Human-gpDB holds information for about 1663 connections between GPCRs and G-proteins and 1618 connections between G-proteins and effectors. Major advantages of Human-gpDB are the integration of several external data sources and the support of advanced visualization techniques. Human-gpDB is a simple, yet a powerful tool for researchers in the life sciences field as it integrates an up-to-date, carefully curated collection of human GPCRs, G-proteins, effectors and their interactions. The database may be a reference guide for medical and pharmaceutical research, especially in the areas of understanding human diseases and chemical and drug discovery. [less ▲]

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See detailDefective Lamin A-Rb Signaling in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and Reversal by Farnesyltransferase Inhibition
Marji, Jackleen; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; McClintock, Dayle et al

in PLoS ONE (2010), 5(6),

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins ... [more ▼]

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins. This mutation elicits an internal deletion of 50 amino acids in the carboxyl-terminus of prelamin A. The truncated protein, progerin, retains a farnesylated cysteine at its carboxyl terminus, a modification involved in HGPS pathogenesis. Inhibition of protein farnesylation has been shown to improve abnormal nuclear morphology and phenotype in cellular and animal models of HGPS. We analyzed global gene expression changes in fibroblasts from human subjects with HGPS and found that a lamin A-Rb signaling network is a major defective regulatory axis. Treatment of fibroblasts with a protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor reversed the gene expression defects. Our study identifies Rb as a key factor in HGPS pathogenesis and suggests that its modulation could ameliorate premature aging and possibly complications of physiological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailArena3D: visualization of biological networks in 3D
Pavlopoulos, Georgios A.; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; Satagopam, Venkata UL et al

in BMC Systems Biology (2008), 2

Background: Complexity is a key problem when visualizing biological networks; as the number of entities increases, most graphical views become incomprehensible. Our goal is to enable many thousands of ... [more ▼]

Background: Complexity is a key problem when visualizing biological networks; as the number of entities increases, most graphical views become incomprehensible. Our goal is to enable many thousands of entities to be visualized meaningfully and with high performance. Results: We present a new visualization tool, Arena3D, which introduces a new concept of staggered layers in 3D space. Related data - such as proteins, chemicals, or pathways - can be grouped onto separate layers and arranged via layout algorithms, such as Fruchterman-Reingold, distance geometry, and a novel hierarchical layout. Data on a layer can be clustered via k-means, affinity propagation, Markov clustering, neighbor joining, tree clustering, or UPGMA ('unweighted pair-group method with arithmetic mean'). A simple input format defines the name and URL for each node, and defines connections or similarity scores between pairs of nodes. The use of Arena3D is illustrated with datasets related to Huntington's disease. Conclusion: Arena3D is a user friendly visualization tool that is able to visualize biological or any other network in 3D space. It is free for academic use and runs on any platform. It can be downloaded or lunched directly from http://arena3d.org. Java3D library and Java 1.5 need to be pre-installed for the software to run. [less ▲]

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See detailClustering of cognate proteins among distinct proteomes derived from multiple links to a single seed sequence.
Barbosa Da Silva, Adriano UL; Satagopam, Venkata UL; Schneider, Reinhard UL et al

in BMC bioinformatics (2008), 9

BACKGROUND: Modern proteomes evolved by modification of pre-existing ones. It is extremely important to comparative biology that related proteins be identified as members of the same cognate group, since ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Modern proteomes evolved by modification of pre-existing ones. It is extremely important to comparative biology that related proteins be identified as members of the same cognate group, since a characterized putative homolog could be used to find clues about the function of uncharacterized proteins from the same group. Typically, databases of related proteins focus on those from completely-sequenced genomes. Unfortunately, relatively few organisms have had their genomes fully sequenced; accordingly, many proteins are ignored by the currently available databases of cognate proteins, despite the high amount of important genes that are functionally described only for these incomplete proteomes. RESULTS: We have developed a method to cluster cognate proteins from multiple organisms beginning with only one sequence, through connectivity saturation with that Seed sequence. We show that the generated clusters are in agreement with some other approaches based on full genome comparison. CONCLUSION: The method produced results that are as reliable as those produced by conventional clustering approaches. Generating clusters based only on individual proteins of interest is less time consuming than generating clusters for whole proteomes. [less ▲]

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